August 22, 2002
MarkBernstein.org
 

Kydd

Kydd
Julian Stockwin

A story of a young wig maker who, just before the start of the war against Napoleon, has the misfortune to get caught by a press gang and finds himself an unwilling sailor.

An interesting perspective of life before the mast in Nelson's Navy, this novel may well launch a series. Kydd makes a fine corrective to Hornblower (though Jack Aubrey is a better and more interesting response, and Richard Henry Dana was actually there) There's a good deal wrong with Kydd -- problems with characterization, seemingly-miraculous improvements in our hero's sailing skills, and the suspicion the Patrick O'Brian might step out from behind a storage cask at any moment. Still, the book makes pleasant airplane reading, and the sequels might easily improve.